Challenges, contradictions and continuity in creating a five-year teacher education programme in Iceland

Anna Kristin Sigurdardottir, Ingolfur Asgeir Johannesson, Gunnnhildur Oskarsdottir, Education in the North

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In 2008, new legislation was passed in Iceland on teacher education, requiring a master’s degree as a prerequisite for teaching certification for all school levels from preschools to upper secondary schools. In the same year the Iceland University of Education merged with the University of Iceland. This article maps the revision of the teacher education (TE) programme for compulsory school teaching at the University of Iceland from these extensive changes, 2008 until 2017. During this period, the University also dealt with the consequences of the economical downfall of 2008 and serious decline in attendance in the TE programme. The study is based on an analysis of various documents, including reports, memoranda, minutes, legislative documents, course catalogues, and a survey among graduated students. We discuss the challenges that arose in creating a high-quality TE programme for a too small group of students, contradictions that were encountered when trying to bring together different and often contradicting interests of stakeholders, and the continuity of previous practices and trends.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-154
Number of pages20
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

The first author was dean of the Faculty of Teacher Education for most of the period under scrutiny until the third author who is the present dean took over in 2013; the second author was a member of the faculty council from 2010–2014.


  • initial teacher education
  • policy of teacher education
  • contradictions in teacher education
  • teacher license
  • content analyses


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